22 Sep Travel with friends – Italy
Once a year, go some place you’ve never been before.
… or more than once. 😉 The last trip for this year probably took me to italy. Two weeks I spent with a really good friend of mine in the regions apulia and campania.
Because our guidebooks said october is still season in italy, we had planned to travel with public transportation, but especially in Apulia it was really difficult to go anywhere. We decided to rent a car to be more free. Up to this point we had visited almost every city on the coast there: Trani, Barletta and Bari. Really nice but nothing really special in my eyes, except you are a fan of castles with nothing in it.
Picking up the little white Nissan micra gave us a great feeling of freedom in the beginning. We went to Castel del Monte (yeah another castle, but in a really nice scenery). Here we met a former bike professional who participated giro d’italia and tour de france.
Afterwards we kept going to see Matera. The old town „sassi“ is located in a canyon and it is well known for the fact that the people here used to dug their houses in the stone. Since 1993 the sassi are a World Heritag Site by the Unesco. Today people are again living here and it is fascinating to walk through those streets.
Another Unesco World Heritage site (since 1996), not so impressive from my point of view, was the trulli-town Alberobello. But it was nice looking at those mostly round white houses with a cone rooftop.
The last two days on the east coast of italy we spent at the half island „Gargano“. This was the best part of the week here. We went hiking, swimming, walking at the beach or through Vieste. It is a quite isolated region of highlands, but for me that made it so peaceful. Since I always had to drive in difficult terrain it was my task to drive here. So it was not so easy for me to enjoy the wonderful sea-scenery. But the blue of the sky and the water calmed me instantly. One day we made a two hour exhausting hike to one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen „Baja delle Zagare“. Just a few other people had found their way here, super clear tourquois water and just the sound and smell of the sea. After a short swim, I lay in the sun and it was so relaxing that I really fell asleep. The bad thing afterwards was going uphill, back to our car. 😉
The next day we went to the other side to campania. We had rent an appartment in the center of Salerno. An here was the real challenge. But as I learned, I am pretty much made for italian traffic. Because if you are to careful you never get a chance to drive. So this was not a problem for me.
And then came my personal highlight: Amalfi Coast. In my phantasy an adorable place. And so in real! Driving here is kinda crazy but a lot of fun. You just drive up and down along the coolest cliffs and see after every corner a new cool coastal scenerey. Visit every city: Minori, Maiori, Amalfi, Ravello and Positano. I really liked Ravello. It was the highest town, with a wonderful market, nice church and great gardens (villa) with the best view over the Amalfi coast. Another day we decided to walk along the coast. Beautiful but connected with thousands of steps up and down.
Before we headed to Naples, we drove in the other direction of Salerno. Here you find the Cilento, a really cool national parc. We wanted to hike. The most difficult about hiking in italy is to find the accesses to the routes. In the beginning you find signs like „5h 12 min“. That is how long it will take you to reach the top of the mountain (in our case). But in between you never get an intermediate result. After 3 hours going up to Monte Alburno we decided to go back since the sun went already down and we didn’t see another human being. But still always nice to relax in the nature.
Naples, Pompeji, Vesuvio, Capri
And finally we spent three more days in Naples. On our way there we stopped in Pompeji. I was impressed and surprised how big this city is and that they are still not done with the excavations. After almost four hours walking over really old streets in the sun, we were completely exhausted.
Capri we visited the other day with a jet boat. Half of the boat puked because the sea was pretty rough. I was very proud of myself for keeping all inside. Because of the rough sea we couldn’t visit the „blue grotto“. It wasn’t the first grotto that was refused to us. A little frustrated we decided to watch a documentary about all the things we didn’t get to see in real. We walked along the coast (steps!) of Capri and enjoyed the scenery. I had the best ice cream of my life (freshly made waffle with chocolate and coffe ice cream) under the bluest sky and with blue water in front of me. So perfect conditions for having ice cream! Then we had premium lunch, with a premium panorama in a little restaurant called „le grotelle“ (so there it was our perfect grotto).
Our last day we used for visiting the „vesuvio“. Since my travel mate was not so fit anymore, we took the bus there. Up there it was really foggy but you could see in the inside. It was not so spectacular as I thought, but then I remembered that this is the only active volcano on the european mainland. So I guess impressive enough. The rest of the day we walked through Naples, enjoyed great pizza (you have to eat it here „Gino Sorbillo“ or „De Michele“) and a lots of impressive architecture.
To sum this trip up: Almost every italian city/town is build up a hill and you will have to walk a lot of stairs!!! 😉 Especially Amalfi Coast and Capri are candy for your eyes. Italian food makes you happy but also really fat even if you are really active. Some stuff of italy is really anoying after a while: italian slowness in combination with low standard and unfriendliness and the cleanliness/the trash problem.
For me the best about the traveling is, to see how perfect #Berlin/Germany is. And that we are really lucky to live here.